This morning Toronto-based Winterlight Labs, a company that uses speech technology to assess cognitive health, landed $4.23 million (5.6 million CAD) in new funding. The round was led by Hikma Ventures with participation from First Star Ventures, Pacific Health Ventures, Grey Sky Venture Partners and others.
WHAT THEY DO
Winterlight Labs makes a tablet-based technology that employs speech-based artificial intelligence to identify possible cognitive declines or changes in a patient. The tool uses a speech-based assessment to identify vocal biomarkers that are indicators of changes in cognition.
Winterlight Labs combines its speech technology with existing health data to identify risk of cognitive or functional decline. It is also able to look at cognitive progression and how patients react to different treatments. The tool has been used in both clinical research and senior care.
WHAT IT’S FOR
The Canadian company plans to use the new funds to further develop its product so it can identify more conditions, including schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. The team also plans to add new languages to the platform.
"Our ultimate goal is to help patients get better sooner by objectively measuring response to therapy in the real world through speech," Liam Kaufman, co-founder and CEO of Winterlight Labs, said in a statement.
MARKET SNAP SHOT
This isn’t the only company working on using speech technology for cognition. In September Aural Analytics raised $4.3 million in seed funding for its technology that uses speech analytics algorithms to gauge changes in brain health. Other competitors in the field include NeuroLex and Sonde, which also use biomarkers like pitch, volume, vocabulary and other variables to detect physical and cognitive disorders through speech.
ON THE RECORD
"We are very excited to enter into the field of vocal diagnostics by leading the investment in Winterlight Labs," said Lana Ghanem, managing director of Hikma Ventures, in a statement. "We recognize the global potential of voice analysis for the diagnosis, monitoring and ongoing treatment of various diseases and look forward to working with the team and our co-investors to help advance the technology and expand disease areas and geographies covered, especially in the Middle East and North Africa."